Connecting GPIB instruments to a standard PC through the USB serial port has gotten easier and better, thanks to the GPIB-USB-A instrument controller. This next-generation device offers data-transfer rates that exceed 650 kbytes/s. It turns any Windows 98/2000 computer with a USB port into a full-function IEEE 488.2 controller that can handle up to 14 programmable GPIB instruments.
This small and lightweight controller is ideal for portable applications using a laptop computer. It also suits applications using computers with no available internal interface slots. Easy to install and use, it has a pre-attached USB cable on one end and a GPIB controller on the other, which attaches directly to the instrument. When it's connected to the computer's USB port, the operating system automatically recognizes it and configures it. It has no switches and requires no external power cord.
The GPIB-USB-A costs $495 each.
National Instruments, 11500 N. Mopac Expwy., Austin, TX 78759-3505; (512) 794-0100; www.natinst.com.